For those bored of mundane dining experiences, The Vaults in Waterloo have been an oasis of culinary excitement. Their latest offering is An Evening of Meat curated by the brilliant American director, Kate March. Over a 6-course tasting menu, diners are dazzled by a thrilling installation dance performance that will redefine your understanding of what is meant by an intimate dance.
The event starts off in a holding bar area, as diners gather and to catch up over some fine cocktails and wine. What is particularly notable in this area are the exquisite wire sculptures on display designed by the talented Rachel Ducker. It absolutely sets the scene on what to expect in terms of the themes explored during the evening such as femininity, control, and self-expression.
Once you move into the main dining area, the performance begins as you meet the 5 superbly talented dancers; they start on all fours on the tables in a position of vulnerability but pretty soon they rise like a phoenix as you see them acrobatically dance on the dining table displaying all the virtues of strength, power, and unbridled wildness. This isn’t a show for the faint-hearted or the introverted, as some guests are encouraged to perform with the dancers and audience involvement is strongly encouraged. What adds to the experience substantially is the hip soundtrack that goes with the dance performance including many reworked classics from the 90s and 80s.
The food was surprisingly refined compared to other dining experiences I’ve encountered at the Vaults. No doubt, this was due to the excellent catering team behind the food from Pop.co. You know you are in for a fine dining experience when your amuse bouche is a scoop of chicken liver served in a savoury cone drizzled with a spiced beetroot glaze and walnut crumb.
Highlights included extremely thinly sliced and perfectly chilled seared carpaccio of dry-aged tender beef which was served with a tasty Thai dressing, kohlrabi, haricot verts and puffed rice. Of the main courses, I particularly enjoyed the expertly flavoured and well-braised mutton shoulder which came with healthy doses of sweet garden peas and spearmint, pea shoots and charred wild garlic.
I was tempted to say the exuberant dance performance detracted away from the quality of the food, but the tasting feast more than held its own and they also offer some high-quality wines in the form of The Merchant’s White from Berry Bros and Rudd (which holds royal warrants).
The show has already been extended until June 2nd, so do catch it as soon as you can.